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in Christian eloquence, in reach of thought, in be correct as well as cheap, and that it should unwearied zeal; who has disregarded ease and have the benefit of the matured judgment of intellectual delights prodigally to expend his its instructors? Now, this can only be effected energies on that which he regards as the sacred by permitting the family of the author to watch cause of the church and religion of his coun over his fame. An author who, in a life detry; and who depends on his copyrights, in voted to literature, has combined gifts of the such of the labours of his mind as he has com- historian and the poet-Mr. Southey-who has mitted to the press, to make amends for a pro- thought the statement of his case might have fessional income far below his great intellec- more effect than a petition, has permitted me tual claims. In addressing me on the subject to elucidate this view of the case by his exof this bill, Dr. Chalmers says, “My profes- ample. He has lately published a complete sional income has always been so scanty, that edition of his poems, correcting the blemishes I should have been in great difficulties, had it which during many years have presented not been for my authorship; and I am not themselves to his severer judgment; his copyaware of a more desirable compensation for rights in many of the original poems will the meagre emoluments of the offices I have expire with his life; in the corrected edition held, than that those profits should be secured his family will enjoy an interest, but in the and perpetuated in favour of my descendants." original poems they will retain none; and it And who among us, not only of those who will be in the power of Mr. Tegg, or any other sympathize with his splendid exertions on of those worthy benefactors of the public who behalf of the church of Scotland, but of all who keep duteous watch over the deathbed of copyfeel grateful for the efforts by which he has rights, to republish any of those poems with illustrated and defended our common faith, all their repented errors, and the addition of will not desire that wish to be fulfilled? How those gross blunders which are always introone of the publishers of his country feels duced when a reprint undergoes no revision towards such authors may be seen in the pe- but that of a printer. But is it even certain tition of Mr. Smith, of Glasgow, who even de that the books thus carelessly printed will be sires to limit the power of assigning copyright actually cheaper in price than if the descendto twenty-one years, and then contrasts his ants of the author published them for their own case with that of those by whose creations he advantage? It is not fair to judge of this by has been enriched. He states, “ that he has recent instances, produced in the first eagerobtained estate and competence by the sale of ness of the freebooters of the trade to seize on books published or sold by him, which pro- and parade their spoils. It should be recolperty he has a right to entail or give in legacy lected that a proprietor who uses only one mafor the benefit of his heirs; while the authors chine for publication may, with profit to himwho have produced the works that have en self, supply the market more cheaply than riched him have no interest for their heirs by numbers who have separate expenses, and the present law of copyright in the property look for separate gains. But if the argument which they have solely constituted." When be doubtful, the fact at least is clear, and I I find these petitions signed by the most dis- may call the honourable member for Finsbury tinguished ornament of the Scotch church, Dr. as my witness to prove it; for he has shown Chalmers—and by one of the most eminent in this House, to the offence of none, but the among the Dissenting divines, Dr. Wardlaw, I amusement of all, and to the proof of my case, cannot help associating with them a case how cheaply books charged with an expensive 'which came under my notice a few days ago, copyright may be obtained of his friend Mr. on an application to me to assist a great- Tegg, who, he states, nevertheless, has a stock grandson of Dr. Doddridge, in presenting a worth more than 170,0001., which, if the prinmemorial to the bounty of the crown. Here ciples of my opponents be fairly applied, is was the descendant of one of the idols of the justly distributable among their favourite and religious world, whose works have circulated much injured public. But grant the whole in hundreds of thousands of copies, enduring assumption-grant that if copyright be exa state of unmerited privation and suffering, tended, the few books it will affect will be from which a trifle on each volume of his an- dearer to the public by the little the author will cestor's works now adorning the libraries of gain by each copy-grant that they will not be the wealthy Dissenters would amply relieve more correct or authentic than when issued him!
wholesale from the press; still is there nothing On these contrasted cases the House has now good for the people but cheap knowledge? Is to decide. But before I leave the question in it necessary to associate with their introducits hands, it is fit I should advert for a moment tion to the works of the mighty dead the selfish to those opponents of the bill who, disclaiming thought that they are sharing in the riot of the the publishers and printers, appear on behalf grave, instead of cherishing a sense of pride of what they call the public, and who insist that, while they read, they are assisting to dethat it is our duty to obtain for that public the prive the grave of part of its withering power works of genius and labour at the lowest pos- over the interests of survivors ? But if it were sible price. Now, passing over a doubt, which desirable, is it possible to separate a personal I dare scarcely hini in their presence, whether sympathy with an author from the first admithe diffusion of cheap copies of any work ne- ration of his works? We do not enter into his cessarily implies in an equal degree the diffu- labours as into some strange and dreamy sion of its beauties or the veneration of its world, raised by the touch of a forgotten eninjunctions, permit me to ask whether even for chanter; the affections are breathing around the public it is not desirable that works should I us, and the author being dead, yet speaks in
accents triumphant over death and time. As for its main object to relieve men of letters from from the dead level of an utilitarian philosophy the thraldom of being forced to court the living no mighty work of genius ever issued, so generation to aid them in rising above slavish never can such a work be enjoyed except in taste and degraded prejudice, and to encourage that happy forgetfulness of its doctrines, which them to rely on their own impulses.” Surely always softens the harshest creed. But I be this is an object worthy of the legislature of a lieve that those who thus plead for the people great people, especially in an age where restare wholly unauthorized by the feelings of the less activity and increasing knowledge present people; that the poor of these realms are richer temptations to the slight and the superficial in spirit than their advocates understand which do not exist in a ruder age. Let those them; and that they would feel a pride in who " to beguile the time look like the time,” bestowing their contributions in the expression have their fair scope-let cheap and innocent of respect to that great intellectual ancestry publications be multiplied as much as you whose fame is as much theirs as it is the boast please,-still the character of the age demands of the loftiest amongst us. I do not believe something impressed with a nobler labour, and that the people of Scotland share in the exulta- directed to a higher aim. “ The immortal tion of the publishers who have successively mind craves objects that endure.” The printers sent among them cheap editions of the “Lay need not fear. There will not be too many canof the Last Minstrel,” “Marmion," and the didates for “a bright reversion,” which only “Lady of the Lake;" that they can buy them falls in when the ear shall be deaf to human at a lower price than if the great minstrel who praise. I have been accused of asking you to pr uced them were still among the living. I legislate “on some sort of sentimental feeling." cannot believe that they can so soon forget I deny the charge : the living truth is with us; their obligations to one who has given their the spectral phantoms of depopulated printingbeautiful country a place in the imagination houses and shops are the baseless fancies of of mankind which may well compensate for our opponents. If I were here beseeching inthe loss of that political individuality they so dulgence for the frailties and excesses which long and so proudly enjoyed, as to count with sometimes attend fine talents—if I were here satisfaction the pence they may save by that appealing to your sympathy on behalf of crushpremature death which gave his copyrights to ed hopes and irregular aspirations, the accusacontesting publishers, and left his halls silent tion would be just. I plead not for the wild, and cold. It is too late to do justice to Burns; but for the sage; not for the perishing, but for but I cannot believe the peasant who should the eternal : for him who, poet, philosopher, or be inspired by him to walk “in glory and in historian, girds himself for some toil lasting as joy, following his plough by the mountain side,” | life-lays aside all frivolous pursuits for one or who, casting his prideful look, on Saturday virtuous purpose--that when encouraged by evening, around his circle of children, feels the distant hope of that “All-hail hereafter," his pleasure heightened and reduplicated in which shall welcome him among the heirs of the poet's mirror, would regret to think that fame, he may not shudder to think of it as the well-thumbed volume which had made sounding with hollow mockery in the ears of him conscious of such riches had paid the those whom he loves, and waking sullen echoes charge of some sixpence towards the support by the side of a cheerless hearth. For such I of that poet's children.
ask this boon, and through them for mankind There is only one other consideration I would -and I ask it in the confidence with the ex. suggest before I sit down, which relates not to pression of which your veteran petitioner any class, but to the community and our du- Wordsworth closed his appeal to you—“ That ties towards them. It is thus expressed in Mr. in this, as in all other cases, justice is capable Wordsworth's petition :-“That this bill has of working out its own expediency !"
THE WESTMINSTER PLAY.
Is gladness shed; it breathes around from all
Whose names, imprinted on each honour'd wall,
New by its crisp expression, seems to fall
Worn eyes with childlike tears; for Memory lifts
And makes even strangers share the precious gifts